6 Ways To Stop Your Australian Shepherd Growling (And Why They Do It)

If you’re wondering why your australian shephrd is growling, and more importantly, how to stop it, then you’ve found the right article! Not only will you find out all of this, you’ll also learn what not to do and get a step-by-step guide to stop them growling once and for all!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

First Of All, Why Is Your Australian Shepherd Growling?

There are a whole bunch of reasons your Australian Shepherd could be growling. And before you can stop the problematic behavior, you first need to understand what’s causing it. So here are the different reasons your pup might be growling!

Territorial Aggressiveness  

If your Australian Shepherd shows signs of aggression when a stranger, another animal or dog approaches you them or their “territory”, it’s most likely that their territorial aggressiveness prompts them to growl.

This means that your Australian Shepherd is scared of the unknown person and presumes any unfamiliar object as a threat. They respond to the object by growling and trying to attack the object. 

However, with big dogs, the situation can get out of hand. The growling can turn into barking, or worse, biting. It’s important to pay attention to the source of their behavior and then deal with it accordingly.

Not only will you have problems around your guests, but a peaceful stroll near your house can also turn into a hard task if your Australian Shepherd growls when an unfamiliar person is near them.   

Protective Aggressive Behavior 

Carefully notice whether or not your Australian Shepherd might not like being around other dogs. They will react similarly to territorial aggressiveness, but it’s termed protective, aggressive behavior. Your Australian Shepherd may assume that another dog in the vicinity is a harm to you or itself and thus may start growling at you as a warning. Competitiveness may also have a part to play here.   

Fear of Aggression 

Fear is one of the biggest triggers of aggression. If your dog is scared, its first response would be to attack the object triggering their fear. Hence, they may begin to growl. Like any other dog, your Australian Shepherd may be scared of fireworks, crowds, or new places.  

Food Aggression 

Dogs have a natural instinct to guard their food. If you try to pet or hug them when they’re eating, they’ll probably growl at you. Another reason why they may constantly bark at you is that they’re hungry. The hunger may also indicate other issues.

Your Australian Shepherd may have digestive problems that cause it to be constantly hungry, or you may not be feeding it according to its dietary requirements. Bigger dogs will require more food and have large, diverse diets, unlike puppies, who mainly eat the factory formula food.  

Check out this video on how to stop food aggression without force:

Psychological Trauma 

There have been many cases where rescue dogs have bitten their owners or mauled other dogs. Many rescued dogs suffer from PTSD or some other psychological trauma instilled by past experience.

For this reason, many people avoid adopting a rescued Australian Shepherd. Australian Shepherds are mostly bought as guard dogs for security. During their service, it’s very likely that they may have experienced assault towards them. This trauma leads to anxiety behavior or PTSD.   

Sudden bouts of aggression, produced by trauma, are unpredictable. Since, unlike your human counterparts, you cannot communicate with your dog effectively, it’s important for you to consult a vet or an animal rescue specialist. Aggression can be a warning symptom of a psychological attack that owners often cannot distinguish from normal aggressive behavior.  

Lack of Socialization 

Many Australian Shepherds, due to lack of proper socialization, diverge from their normal placid behavior when they are placed in situations unfamiliar to them. Instantly, they feel unsafe and may begin growling at you. 

Golden Retriever playing in the snow and catching snow balls

Positive Reasons Australian Shepherds Growl At Their Owners 

While there are many possible explanations for your Australian Shepherd’s growling, there are as many chances that you are misinterpreting that behavior due to myths regarding their traits. Not all noises are growling, and not all growling is indicative of aggressive behavior.  

Here are some reasons that signify that your Australian Shepherd means no danger.  

Delight And Affection  

Frequently, owners confuse growling with rumbling. Growling is accompanied by alarming body signs, while rumbling can be described as akin to the cat’s purr. Australian Shepherds are affectionate and family-loving dogs. When you pet them, they will make deep noises at the back of their throat, showing content and happiness towards their owner.  


Once you take them to a park, Australian Shepherds will get excited and start growling. However, this is directed towards the park and not you. This is because Australian Shepherds are fond of open spaces. Even at home, they’ll get annoyed if they’re stuck in a small space. When you take them out, they’ll growl at you as a way of communicating their excitement.  

Communicating Fear and Pain 

Your Australian Shepherd may be trying to get your attention to alert you about something that may potentially be threatening. They will growl aggressively at you until you follow them and pay attention to what’s causing the fear. It can be some physical discomfort or aggression towards an intruding stranger or another animal.  


Anxious to meet their owners, Australian Shepherds will growl and bark when they finally unite with you. Their growls and barks when you come home after a long day show that they are happy to meet you.  

Being Playful 

Like many other dogs, Australian Shepherds growl when they’re enjoying themselves. They may display their excitement over chasing a toy by thunderous growling and even biting the toy that they’re playing with. However, even though it’s nothing to worry about, some behavior in Australian Shepherds should be kept close because biting an object isn’t healthy behavior. 

Training Your Australian Shepherds to Stop Growling  

If you haven’t trained your Australian Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your Australian Shepherd shows, whether it’s growling, barking, or biting, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to have a calm, happy dog, not one that’s constantly growling when you approach them. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

How To Stop An Australian Shepherd Growling At Their Owner 

Observe Why Your Dog Is Growling  

Your dog may be growling because they don’t like the behavior you’re showing. Once you clearly identify the source, you can ensure that your dog doesn’t interact with it. If your Australian Shepherd happens to encounter the triggering situation, try to neutralize it instantly in a calm manner. Observe how your dog reacts to different stimuli – whether it’s snarling, biting, or growling.  

Avoid Your Dog 

If your dog tries to bite you, simply walk away. Do not try to show any dominance over the dog. They may begin to respond negatively. Growling at you is your dog’s way of getting your attention. When you ignore them, they’ll learn that growling doesn’t work and will stop their behavior. 

Expose Australian Shepherds’ To Aggression Triggers 

Exposing your dog to aggression triggers in a controlled situation can help you determine why they’re growling. Once you know this, you can remove the source and stop their growling. 

React Calmly 

If your Australian Shepherd is growling at you because it’s scared or fearful, react calmly, and maintain a relaxed environment. If the Australian Shepherd is scared, being in a calm situation will help them relax and feel less anxious, which will ultimately stop the growling.  

Praise Their Positive Behavior  

Australian Shepherds are extremely obedient and intelligent. By rewarding them for their positive behavior, they will conceive that behavior as good and repeat it frequently in hopes of a reward. Hence, every time they get your attention by not growling, reward them. 

Exercise Socialization  

Australian Shepherds are a family-loving dog breed, contrary to the myths. They develop a companionship with their owner and are extremely loyal to them. Isolating them will only make them more sensitive to various situations.

If you keep them isolated, they will snap at any minor threat. Socialize your dog by taking them on walks and meeting with other people. Encourage them to play with other dogs in parks or social places under your supervision. This method will breed comfort in them and won’t let them get scared easily. 

Here are 3 easy steps to help you socialize your Australian Shepherd:

Use Positive Dominance  

While training your Australian Shepherd, exert positive dominance with a firm voice and hand gestures. Avoid any triggering stimuli while training. Australian Shepherds are extremely intelligent.

By communicating with hand gestures and vocal commands, they will understand what you want and will react accordingly. During your training, use positive dominance to teach them the command to stop growling. 

How to Stop Your Australian Shepherd Growling

As the owner of an Australian Shepherd, it’s your responsibility to adjust their behavior. Luckily, there are a lot of ways for you to do so. When your Australian Shepherd starts growling, and you’ve figured out the reason, here are some things you can do:

  1. Remain calm and keep your tone level. Because the Australian Shepherd is so loyal, it will notice that its owner isn’t affected by whatever is setting off the behavior. Basically, the best method is to be calm so that your dog will do the same.
  2. As mentioned earlier, pain can cause sudden growling. If you suspect that your dog is hurt, take it to the vet instead of trying to see for yourself.
  3. If the growling is constant, hormones may be involved. Unless you plan to breed your Australian Shepherd, one of the most-effective ways to reduce hormonal reactions and the likelihood of growling is to have your dog spayed or neutered. This can also help with territorial aggression.
  4. Like most people, your Australian Shepherd could be growling from being cooped up too long. This breed needs a lot of activity, so be sure to give it enough daily exercise mentally and physically. Thought-provoking challenges or obstacles, long walks, or playing in the park can all help to improve your dog’s mood.
  5. Due to instinct, Australian Shepherd growling can be attributed to plans changing. This breed is used to routine, so consistency is key to maintaining your dog’s temperament.
  6. If nothing else, try removing your dog from the situation. A lot of the reasons for growling are related to being in a new environment or around something that discomforts your Australian Shepherd. Either taking your dog to another area or removing the cause from your dog could improve the scenario.
  7. You can help growling and aggression by socializing your dog from an early age. Take your Australian Shepherd to a dog park as a puppy, bring them around people, and get them accustomed to social settings. Many of the causes of growling are due to unusual situations so getting them used to outside animals and people can be a huge factor. 

What To Avoid Doing 

We can make mistakes when training our dogs, which may further aggravate the aggression in them. Here are some common mistakes to look out for:  

Disciplining During Training Sessions 

Australian Shepherds can be incredibly frustrating when it comes to training. They are easily distracted, excitable, and aloof. If you discipline them during training, it’ll feel like punishment to them, and they will not respond to your efforts. Instead, they may growl at you constantly.  

Never Hit or Scream  

No matter how challenging the training gets, never lash out. Never hit your dog or scream at them. Your aggressive temper may instill fear in the dog, who will react negatively. A feeling of distrust will then be established between you and your dog. This can lead to dogs being under constant anxiety and may cause them to growl at their owners. 

Unnecessary Rewarding  

By rewarding your Australian Shepherd constantly, when the situation doesn’t call for it, you can make them dependent on rewards. In these situations, your dog may growl or bark when they’re left unrewarded.  


Australian Shepherds are lovable and obedient dog breeds. If well-treated and trained with patience, their aggressive behavior towards their owner decreases. Though some Australian Shepherds may growl at their owners, they rarely intend harm. Their growling behavior is usually indicative of something else and is easy to get off. 

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